Silver Lining

A loving community finding the silver lining.

“Never judge someone without knowing the whole story. You may think you understand, but you don’t.”

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“Never judge someone without knowing the whole story. You may think you understand, but you don’t.” -Anonymous

You don’t know me and I don’t know you. That is the unfortunate truth. And as much as I would love to get to know each and every one of you (I really would!!), we will never truly know a person’s full story. Even if we do, we may not know the whole thing. Not only is it important to respect a person’s privacy, but we should not judge them if they decide not to share their story.

For me, these cases have never truly hit home. I do, however, know people who chose to judge others based on appearances or what they first believe. It’s not that they want to be mean or insulting to someone, it just comes out of their mouth, sometimes on accident. Situations like those make me uncomfortable. I know the importance of seeing the good in people, and I always try my best to do that. I give people second or third chances because everyone deserves that. We don’t know a person’s full story, so it isn’t fair that we judge them on what little we do know.

In those cases where we do know what is going on, it still is important not to judge. Someone may be going through a rough time, and the last thing he or she needs are judgmental stares. My friends always know when I’m having a bad day. They may not ask me why, but they do not judge me because of how I behave around them. Instead they give me a warm hug, which is definitely something that is always needed in a person’s life. (Besides, who doesn’t like a hug from their friends?). We should be there for others as a kind friend, not as a judgmental peer.

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Family Is Not Always Blood

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“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.” – Anonymous

When people ask about family, we often assume it is the people related to us by blood. The people who live in the same house as us. The people we are obliged to love (haha). But I’m here telling you that in a sense, your family can be a choice. As the quote mentions, family really consists of anyone who will share with you their mutual unconditional love.

Therefore, my family isn’t just my siblings and my parents. My family includes: my closest friends who have been by my side when I was covered in tears (both happy and sad), my dance team that never fails to push me to my best potential, and of course my trusty pup who can cheer me up just by wagging her tail. These are the ones you want to call your family. And you have a choice of who you want to include in your family.

Cut out the negative influences, and bring in those you love, even if they aren’t directly related to you. Because family has no limits, and there’s nothing wrong with more love in the world!

I can do this

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I held my breath as the suspense of the TV series I was binge-watching grew. I knew I would not be able to sleep without knowing what happens next. My mouse was hovering over the words  “Next Episode” when my phone let out a small chime. Looking down at it, I was surprised to see that the time read 2:37 AM.

“Oh no.” I muttered softly. I promised myself that I would at least start doing some work. All of a sudden, a sense of fear and panic swerved through my body. Summer will be ending soon, and I have done absolutely nothing. I have college apps and essays and…oh gosh, I still have to finish the AP summer assignment. I could feel the panic in my stomach as my anxiety continued to grow.

My phone chimed once more, and I read the notification my best friend sent to our group chat.

“GUYS! Did anyone finish  the fourth prompt for the summer assignment? I don’t understand what it’s asking?”

The knot in my stomach grew. She’s almost done with the assignment and I haven’t even started it! How could I have let this happen. There is no way I can finish all of this on time. Oh my gosh what am  I going to do?

All of a sudden, I felt the room grow cold. I shivered, despite it being late summer in California.  My heart began to race and I searched my bedroom, as if I was looking for something to help me calm down.

“Okay, okay. No need to worry. I have plenty of time. I have over a week to do everything I need to do. And besides, I’ve worked under a harsher time constraint. I can do this.”

I can do this.

The Greatest Weapon Against Stress

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“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” -William James

This quote speaks volumes to me, someone who (like most people) tends to overthink every situation. Stress is inevitable for all people, but we don’t realize that the majority of our stress actually comes from ourselves. One good example comes from my experience at dance auditions. Dancers go in, learn the choreography in a short amount of time, and prepare to perform in smaller groups in front of the judges- usually all under an hour.  Though I’ve been going to these auditions for almost two years now, the nerves that come from auditioning have never completely gone away. However, the best way I overcome these nerves is simply by choosing to think positively. I don’t think about how I compare to the other dancers, nor do I panic about how well I know the choreography. These little worries that come into your mind are just distractions, big “What if”s  that are not worth stressing about.

 

My first year of auditioning had me asking myself these “What if” questions, leading to self-doubt as a dancer. But the second year, I told myself that I was  an amazing dancer. I told myself that even if I went on stage and fell on my face, I would do it with pointed feet and a fabulous smile on my face. I told myself that I had no reason to put extra stress on myself; all I needed to do was dance. And it worked! I had more confidence in myself, remembered the entire combination, and was even hugged by my dance teachers who were surprised by my change in energy.

 

It’s natural to feel stress in a high-anxiety environment. But when you boil the situation down to its core, eliminating the stress you create for yourself, you can perform much better. We have the ability to “choose one thought over another”, so in everything you do, choose the thought that brings out your positive energy!

“How High Will a Sycamore grow?”

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“How high will a sycamore grow?

If you cut it down then you’ll never know” – Pocahontas (1995)

Sure, Pocahontas was talking about a legitimate tree in this lyric from “Colors of the Wind”, but it can be interpreted in many ways. So many times, our growth is stunted by our own disbelief. I can’t actually be the one to get the A on the math test! Without a doubt, someone is always going to be better at drawing than me! Though I’m good, I can’t be great… And while it’s indubitable that we cannot be the best at everything, we should always remember Pocahontas’s quote. You are the sycamore, and the height of the tree represents your potential.

 

The first step to widening your potential is simply getting yourself the resources to do well. That does not just include the tangible tools needed to achieve your goal, but also the mindset. For example, say you want to build more arm strength by doing pushups. The only way to find your greatest potential is by approaching your goal with success in your mind. Often, we will “cut down” our potential without knowing it ourselves by telling ourselves that we can’t do it. It’s like going into the pushup, already believing that your arms are not strong enough. Going into the pushup, if you believe that you are strong enough (even if that is far from the truth), you would be surprised at the outcome.

 

Casual Relaxation

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Eyes open. Body rested. I rub my eyes to see my bedroom in broad daylight, bright golden rays that I seemed to be seeing for the first time. It is 9:30 AM instead of my usual 6:30 AM call time that I had become accustomed to during the school year. It is the first day of summer vacation, and reliving past summers wasted doing nothing, I am absolutely determined to make everyday worth remembering.

 

Off the bat, I call my friends Naomi and Sally.

“GUYS!” I scream into the phone. “Are you free today? We have to do something absolutely amazing! Maybe we can drive up to San Francisco and walk around the entire city. We can go south to spend a day at the beach. Or maybe we can even book a reservation to go skydiving somewhere…”

 

The other two ends of the phone are static.

 

Naomi lets out a soft sigh.

“Girl, I was just planning on binge-watching the rest of this show.”

 

I hear a quiet grunt from Sally’s end. Of course Sally is probably still half asleep.

“Yeah…ugh, I’m sorry,” Sally mumbles. “I wanted to really just relax today. No elaborate plans, no money spent. Just a nice day to do nothing.”

 

I gasp in disbelief. But it makes sense. We just spent the past seven months studying, scheduling plans, and running from place to place. I nodded with an understanding sigh and resorted to spend the day by taking my dog to the park and drinking a cup of Jamba Juice.

 

Although I did not get to hang out with my friends the way that I imagined, I realized something. In some ways, summer is the best time for you to discover yourself and celebrate your achievements from the past year. Forget elaborate plans and lavish vacations! All I really need is some casual relaxation.

Make memories

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 Pictures aren’t what you’ll remember 50 years from now, memories are, so focus on making memories with the people who matter most to you.

      I’ve never really been one to take lots of pictures wherever I go. My Snapchat story is almost always empty, my Facebook only has older pictures of me, and I haven’t posted any new photos on my Instagram since December. It’s not that I never go anywhere or do anything interesting; I do, but I rarely take pictures of any of it. I always forget. I like taking pictures, but it’s never the first thing I do because it’s not that important to me. I’m always so immersed in where I am and what I’m doing, so I forget to do it most of the time. Pictures are great to remember where you’ve been, but I think the best way to remember is to enjoy it to the fullest and live in the moment. Pictures can capture a lot of things, but they can’t capture fun for you to relive, so live in the moment first and have as much fun as you can before pulling out that camera.